(Oh, were you expecting some glamorous bikini shot? A gratuitous gif, maybe? Well SHAME ON YOU, Nation. *This* is the face of women’s MMA, so look at it, ya bunch of misogynists! via Invicta)
In the wake of all this bombshell Jon Jones news being dropped, it would be easy to overlook the fact that the UFC made another, more positive announcement earlier this week: the signing of former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson to their 115-pound division. The news of Waterson’s was made by the UFC on Tuesday, and last night, Waterson’s debut opponent has been announced.
Suffice it to say, if you think “The Karate Hottie” is being handed a gimme fight to launch her up the rankings, well, you’re right.
A Fight Pass deal was a welcomed development. Invicta finally had a stable medium to broadcast their shows on…or so we thought.
After a pretty entertaining card, the stream froze shortly into the main event, which pitted Michelle Waterson against Yasuko Tamada.
People were understandably upset, though some tried to justify the stream going down by saying the phone stream was intact. The stream bounced back for about 10 seconds in the third round and then froze again. It didn’t come back (at least not for us) until Mike Schiavello was saying goodbye to everyone. From what we did see of the main event, Waterson looked incredible. She was agile, her strikes were lightning quick and she was unloading fierce combinations on Tamada. Tamada, on the other hand, looked like she was about 60 years old. We’re not kidding either. Her age is unknown. She had to be close to 40 at least. Outside of the fact that she was slow, her skill set was anemic. Waterson destroyed her.
Overall, the event was pretty good if you ignore the stream collapsing at the end (bad streams must be some kind of Invicta curse).
With some of the promotion’s most crowd-pleasing stars returning to action in the near future, the UFC has released a bunch of classic fights to hype up their appearances.
First up: Donald Cerrone‘s comeback knockout of Melvin Guillard at UFC 150 in August 2012, in which Cowboy gets battered around the cage for a minute before stunning Guillard with a head-kick and finishing the job with a right cross. The 76-second performance earned Cerrone an extra $120,000 in Fight of the Night/Knockout of the Night bonuses. He returns to the cage this Wednesday against Jim Miller at UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City. Set your DVRs, folks.
Invicta FC put on its fifth event last night, closing out a very successful first year for the promotion. A thirteen-fight card at Kansas City’s Ameristar Casino highlighted Invicta’s swelling roster of talented fighters and solidified the promotions reputation for delivering entertaining MMA bouts. The show featured debuts of three champs from Strikeforce and Bellator, plus a pair of Invicta championship matchups. And it fucking rocked.
The card started with a pair of quick submissions, including CagePotato’s own Rose Namajunas, who set the internet on fire with a twelve second flying armbar victory. According to initial reports, that is the 5th fastest victory in MMA history, and fastest in the women’s division. Namajunas was understandably jubilant in her win, saying later that she would like all of her fights to be of the blink-and-you-missed-it variety. She also pointed out that she was still a prospect just starting out at 2-0, and that title talks could wait until she gained more experience.
Invicta’s production values have been a consistent strong point, and this latest preview video from Esther Lin and E. Casey Leydon is no exception. It’s beautiful work, and does a fantastic job setting up Friday night’s main event, between Invicta’s Atomweight (105) Champion Jessica Penne and challenger Michelle Waterson.
- Some of you may remember Jessica Penne from an interview we did with her in August 2010 (I haven’t asked, but I’m pretty sure Penne still hates you assholes), but this is not the same fighter. She looks about ten pounds stronger and ten pounds lighter at the same time.
- In general, there’s a decent amount of footage of Penne beastin’ all over the gym.
- While talking about fitting in at the Jackson-Winklejohn camp, Michelle Waterson lets slip that Jackson calls her “peanut”. Awwwwwwww.
- Jon Jones says after a long day of working out, sometimes he likes to cool down and watch the Karate Hottie kick it like Tae Bo. Then he mumbles something about stealing techniques, like that makes it any better.
Not that we don’t appreciate the UFC’s generous one-female-fight-every-couple-months schedule, but in terms of competitive matchups and depth of talent, Invicta FC is still the premiere promotion for women’s MMA. And as long as they can avoid more technical foul-ups this time, Invicta’s fifth card looks like a real corker.
As announced yesterday via press-release, Invicta FC 5 will go down Friday, April 5th at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, featuring two title fights and 12 more bouts featuring a deep roster of well-known contenders. Check out some of the matchup highlights below, and the full event lineup at the end of this post…
Jessica Penne (10-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (10-3), for atomweight championship: Penne won Invicta’s inaugural 105-pound title last October at Invicta 3 with her submission victory over Naho Sugiyama. The Karate Hottie won her Invicta debut at the same event, defeating Lacey Schuckman by split-decision and increasing her total win streak to four.
Barb Honchak (7-2) vs. Vanessa Porto (13-5), for inaugural flyweight championship: Honchak is on a roll with six straight wins — including a decision over Felice Herrig and a submission of Roxanne Modafferi — and has gone 2-0 under the Invicta banner. Porto is coming off her decision win over Tara LaRosa at Invicta FC 3, which followed a loss to Sarah D’Alelio.
(Joanne Calderwood vs. Ashley Cummins. Fight starts at the 1:35 mark. Someone nearly shits their pants around the 4:45 mark.)
Over the past several months, we’ve heard a lot of hoopla regarding the plight of women’s MMA and the lighter weight classes in general. According to some self-proclaimed experts, these fighters stand next to no chance of providing exciting finishes because of their “frail bones” and their “cabbage fingers” and their “lady parts that prevent them from committing gruesome acts of beautiful violence.” And while it should be noted that I normally obtain most of this expert testimony during my weekly NO MA’AM meetings, I must admit that the ladies of Invicta Fighting Championships are pretty much shattering every pre-conceived notion that one could have when approaching women’s MMA or the lighter weight classes. Last weekend’s Invicta FC 3 event did not stray far from the pattern established by the firsttwo events, which is to say, it delivered exciting fights and brutal finishes from top to bottom.
In the evening’s main event, submission specialist and general hottie Jessica Penne made history by becoming the promotion’s first champion in the atomweight class, controlling the previously number one ranked atomweight Naho Sugiyama easily before submitting her midway through the second round with a slick triangle choke. Penne improved to 10-1 as a professional with the win and likely set up a showdown between herself and “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson, who picked up a hard fought split-decision win over Lacey Schuckman earlier in the evening, down the line. I’m not saying I will be watching that fight with ulterior motives, but I am saying that I will be watching it alone. With the curtains closed. With no pants on.
After the jump: A boatload of fight videos from the event, including Shayna Baszler’s domination of Sarah D’Alelio, Stephanie Frausto’s lightning quick submission over Amy Davis, and Julia Budd’s brutal beatdown of Danielle West.
As you can tell, this new Invicta 3 promo starring Michelle Waterson defies normal headline writing. We could call it amateurish and weird, and more cheap ammo for the Jon Jones haters, but that would be dismissive. Personally, I think it’s a clever parody of how female fights are promoted, and how discussion of Waterson almost always focuses on her “Karate Hottie” persona, rather than her fearsome skills as a fighter. And so, the female athlete gets a moment in the spotlight, while the boys in the gym — some of whom are much, much more famous than Waterson — are reduced to scantily-clad eye-candy.
I mean, you have to believe that this video is trying to make some kind of statement, right? Otherwise, how the hell would you explain it? When Michelle and Greg Jackson were spitballing viral video ideas in his office, did Jones pop his head in and say, “I FEEL LIKE I COULD MAKE A GOOD RING GIRL, LIKE MAYBE THE BEST RING GIRL EVER, EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS, PHILIPPIANS YOU GUYS”? Really, does that sound like the Jon Jones you know?
The real star of this clip is obviously UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, who sells the shit out of his role as “ring girl #2.” Gotta love the blown-kiss at 1:18, and his celebratory hop at 1:31. The guy has clearly mastered the art form. So does this mean Arianny will try to get him fired now?